People are more alike than unalike.

There are more things that unite us than divide us.

These, though they may seem like hippy clichés, are basic truths.

Yeah, sure, they may also be hippy clichés, but so what: true is true!

The movement in the mass-media to label people so they can be identified is something that has been going on for decades. We have responded to it, as consumers of media, by seemingly accepting this labelling as a good way to be told who we should like / dislike / trust / distrust / hate / be wary of and rally together to fight-off.

Each media outlet chooses sides and applies its labels. Those with leaning towards the same morals, values and social outlook as the media channel, trust that media channel as a good source of honest information.

In treating news as entertainment, the media has had to do what all good entertainment does: hype up the villains and the heroes, throw things out to extremes so we all know with a glance who we are rooting for and who we are vehemently against.

People, issues and opinion has become polarised. On nearly everything.

The middle ground has disappeared.

We are trending towards intolerance more than tolerance.

We are being encouraged to utterly dismiss whole sections of people because they are supposedly opposite to us: how can we trust them on anything when there is a fundamental disagreement between us? Out goes the baby with the bath-water.

We can disagree on things and still be civil to each other. We can hold opposite opinions and beliefs and still find things that we agree on: we don’t have to look very hard.

But we have to want to do it. We have to want to put the energy in to doing it. We have to remind ourselves that there are many people in many positions of power that find it easier to manage us as a group, if we don’t look, if we don’t remember that we have more in common with other people than what separates us.

I have many friends with strong religious beliefs and I am an atheist. To my absolute and certain knowledge, there are more things in our lives that unite us than divide us. We respect each other and retain our friendship because we like each other for who we are, differences and all.

It’s not just about religion but politics too. Any arena where we can have wildly differing opinion and beliefs: but we still retain our similarities.

We must allow ourselves to see the similarities as well as the differences.

There is a lot of talk about ‘healing divides’, and this is a process that needs that recognition that there can be common ground even when there is absolute difference in some areas.

Take the time, look for the similarities, respect people’s opinions and beliefs even when different and remember that beneath it all, we all essentially want the same things for our loved ones and families.

It’d be great if the middle-ground was retaken by common decency.